About this site's lack of design: Yes, it's supposed to look this way — I'm helping create a new sandbox theme for WordPress (see it on GitHub).

Dan Rubin's SuperfluousBanter

Design, random musings, and the Web. Since 1977

Archive for July, 2003


MovableType Meetup

Friday, July 25th, 2003

Now this would be really cool! Unfortunately, the closest area which appears to have enough people to actually meet is Tampa, a 4-5 hour drive from Fort Lauderdale. I’m the only person to try to sign up in Broward County so far (apparently).

So, any other Palm Beach/Broward/Miami-Dade MovableType users out there? Speak up, I can’t hear you! Sigh.



Hive Got Desktops

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2003

Dan Benjamin (of HiveWare Email Address Enkoder fame) has released some new desktop images (not too bad, especially if you like blue) and to celebrate, I’ve decided to release a set of my own.

Presenting: Superfluous Desktops

Download, use, review, enjoy.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that I have completely and entirely (etc. etc.) missed the one year anniversary of SuperfluousBanter! July 19th, 2002 marked my first post to this site, and it has evolved beautifully since then. My apologies for missing the big 1.0 — you may all now consider the new desktops as a belated birthday present…

UPDATE #2: Yes, I was indeed inspired by Mr. Benjamin’s desktop offerings when I decided to create my own. No, even though the layout of the desktop page looks almost identical to that of Mr. Benjamin’s, I swear I didn’t copy it: I still use IE 5.1 on OS 9 as my primary browser, so when I viewed his page it looked like this. I can only offer a public apology to Mr. Benjamin for the way it turned out :-)



More Site Tweaks

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2003

I’ve made some changes to the Comments layout on each individual entry page (you may need to refresh the page, reload the style sheets, or clear your browser cache if you can’t see the changes).

Now the Post details for each comment are listed above the comment, which makes much more sense, and I’ve also added an icon to each comment, adding to the branding of the site. The icon is placed as a background image with CSS, rather than cluttering up the page with tons of <img> tags.

The entire comment area (save the comment form) is now set apart from the rest of the page with a light background color and border, and some padding.



Gamma Problems

Monday, July 21st, 2003

First of all, no, this has nothing to do with the Incredible Hulk — I spent a good deal of time this weekend revisiting the site design for Webgraph, which has been sitting idle in my hard drive for too long. I’ve had the basic design completed since the beginning of the year (!), so I decided to start testing the colors on different systems before I consider the scheme (and the exact shades) finalized, and this is where I start to run into problems: I’ve dealt with gamma issues before (PC’s and Mac’s have different gamma settings, which cause colors to display differently between platforms, and even between different monitors if they’ve been calibrated), but I can’t recall ever seeing as much of a difference as I am with this particular case.

To illustrate the problem, I’ve created an example (view test image) showing what I consider to be the acceptable variations in shades of black (concentrate on the nav bar, behind the words “Home, Our Work” etc.) between the top and bottom borders, the solid background, and the diagonal pattern (all shades of black). If you are viewing this on a PC, you might not see the pattern, or the top and bottom borders. This is the problem.

On the desktop PC’s here (the problem does not occur on our Dell laptop, because LCD displays do not generally share the same gamma problems as CRT’s) the entire area from top border to bottom border (except the white lettering) looks black. No pattern, no difference between the borders and the background. On our Mac’s (some of them calibrated, others straight out of the box, all CRT) the difference in shades is clearly visible.

The problem is this: when I change the shades so they show up as subtle differences on the PC’s, it is so incredibly light on the Mac’s as to make it look stupid.

Aside from any ideas (which are most welcome), I would like to use you, my valued reader, as a test user: please post your review of the above test image in the comments of this post, and include your testing environment (OS, browser, type of monitor, color depth, calibrated or not, gamma setting if known) and let me know which of the variations you prefer (or none, if you cannot see the pattern at all).

I really appreciate your help, and if you can assist with an direct solution, I’ll include a comment in the final site’s HTML listing you as a contributor, and linking to your site.



Redesigns Abound

Friday, July 18th, 2003

Hot on the heels of Douglas Bowman’s redesign of Adaptive Path, the imitable Dan Cederholm has completed his latest project, redesigning Inc.com (his studio’s site has also received a facelift). The four sites linked above are not just terrific examples of design, but all make use of valid XHTML and CSS.

With all these great examples taking up your time, you may not have noticed the few minor tweaks made to this site: the primary navigation now resides in its own UI element (the bar underneath the header), and features subtle hover effects (all CSS, of course); the style switcher has been simplified by removing the two experimental styles (this has also decreased page-load times a bit); and finally, I’ve livened up the header just a little, borrowing one of the elements from this site’s logo (the globe). Of course, all the changes have been translated to each of the alternate styles.

I’m still not done (is a designer ever really done?), so you may have to reload the page and/or stylesheets over the next few days/weeks if things look squirrelly. I have to do something to make myself feel better after spending so much time looking at Doug and Dan’s personal sites–it’s good to have the bar raised every once in a while.


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